Laugh is, I'm an old school microcomputer guy from before DOS, who used to bitch about what a fugly pain in the arse *nix was. (even though I've got a Model 16 in the garage that runs Xenix)... So right age-frame, but wrong side of the fence.
The thing about tab-bar space is it becomes a non-issue with portrait mode tabs or a wide portrait taskbar... you set up anywhere from a quarter to third of the screen width so you can see more than ten characters of the titles, and at 1200 tall that's easily 50 to 60 windows before pagination kicks in. The only time I like group-by is on win7 and 8 laptops, where space is more restricted. Even there I move the taskbar to the side since these ridiculous widescreens give you a ton of space in a direction you aren't using unless gaming or watching video... so put it to work.
As to colour syntax highlighting, I hated it when I first encountered it in Turbo Pascal 4 back in the '80's, and it's no better today than it was then. The constantly shifting array of colours makes it impossible for me to actually read what anything says! I don't get how making the screen look like I just dropped acid is actually useful.
But then I look at some of the colour schemes people are using now (see pretty much every colour-set that comes width sublime)
, and they're even worse. It's like "doesn't that hurt your eyes? What, are you longing for the days of crappy hard to read amber and green screens again?!?"
That said, I do still implement it in things I write as an option since I fully recognize I'm not all users.
But really I'm a stickler for things like the joint Apple/IBM/M$ usability study that a significant portion of not only resulted in the VGA specification, UI for Win9x AND MacOS7, but also worked their way into the WCAG... Illegible colour contrasts ALONE is why 90%+ of the garbage at template whorehouses like Themeforest or TemplateMonster are utter and complete nube-predating trash.
Since most of these "designers" don't know enough about HTML, CSS, emissive colourspace or the web content accessibility guidelines to be "designing" a blasted thing. They're artists; not designers.... sadly most if not all their "art" being peddled as design is either based in ignorance, or is literally them giving a giant middle finger at accessibility and usability for being too "restrictive".
... it's a good thing actual engineering projects are rarely built this way, and when they are it shows just how full of it the artist was -- see the various "death ray" buildings cropping up worldwide.**EDIT**
just to give you an idea what I mean by portrait, here's my layout on my road laptop (1920x1080). I'm away from the workstation for a few days thanks to the holidays, but picture that where the taskbar is on the right side of the right-most display with 120 more pixels height to work with... on a three display system. (1920x1200 on each side, 2560x1440 center)http://www.cutcodedown.com/images/workLaptopDesktop.jpg
Once you start using tabs and taskbars that way, it's VERY hard to go back. It's just SO much easier to deal with.